A representation of the spiritual event that was taking place at that time; a transition from worshipping God through the mind and body to worshipping God through the heart. Both were present at the time. John with his disciples and Jesus with his disciples, and the disciples of John were taking notice.
“Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not?” Matthew 9:14
Jesus answers in parables, using symbolism, speaking of the children of the bridechamber, the bridegroom, the new cloth, the old garment, the new wine, and the old bottles. He is saying that it is not going to be easy for those serving God through their mind and body to accept this new way; the way through the heart. They found the symbolism of his parables hard to understand. It was God’s spiritual language, which is foreign to the religious ear. And if they were not able to hear the message in the literal sense, how could they possibly hear it in the spiritual sense, which is to obey it. It was the new wine, which cannot be put into old bottles lest they burst, referring to the outburst of anger many Christians, who are still holding on to old religious beliefs, display when their beliefs are questioned. What Jesus was talking about through his parables was the spiritual conception of the spiritual word of God. But they, as Jesus described them, were children; unskilled and immature, completely satisfied with their old religious practices, to which they had become addicted. Like a drug, it gave them a feeling of euphoria. It gave them false peace, symbolized by the wall the prophet Ezekiel spoke of, which comes crashing down in difficult times (Ezekiel 13:10-15). What we have is a time of trouble brewing, and a lot of people that are unskilled and unprepared because they have chosen the physical path over the spiritual path; choosing religious worship over spiritual revitalization and regeneration.
Let us rewind the reel of Jewish history back to Joseph, allegory to Jesus. Both hated for the words they spoke. Both falsely accused and thrown into prison. Both taken into Egypt to preserve their lives. Joseph is in prison, where he comes in contact with the baker and the butler. Each man has a dream, which Joseph interprets. The baker will be beheaded, but the butler will continue his butlership. John was beheaded. Jesus went on to fulfil his mission. But unfortunately, religion prevailed, the spiritual truth, and spiritual path through the heart, buried, symbolized by Joseph’s imprisonment, the return of spiritual truth symbolized by Joseph’s release from prison. The corn that Joseph gathered into the storehouses for the coming famine symbolizes the spiritual Word of God, spiritual truth that has been preserved through the symbolism of the literal Word of God. It will take a spiritual famine to get those who have chosen the path of religion to hunger for spiritual truth. “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:” Amos 8:11.
In the spring of 2010, I was shown that we are in the exact same place we were two thousand years ago, man’s spiritual stagnation over the past fifteen hundred years due to teachings that were diametrically opposed to the spiritual teachings of Jesus, which only those few entering the narrow gate; choosing the path through the heart, understood. I believe this is the last call to ascend the mount, which the children of Israel were instructed to do on the third day, but declined out of fear, remaining at the foot of the mount worshipping the graven image. The world entered the third day with the new millennium, the graven image symbolizing the false religious image that so many continue to worship out of fear. These false religious beliefs, like the carnal law, have no power to bring us into perfection. “If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron?” Hebrews 7:11. That will require us to make the transition from serving God through our mind and body to serving God through the power of our heart, which is to worship God “in spirit and in truth,” the words of Jesus. The power and authority that was once associated with religious customs and practices has been cut off, beheaded! “Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting.” Isaiah 1:13.
The children of Israel, chosen out of all the nations of the world to teach us about ourselves, received the carnal law because they transgressed the spiritual law. The ritualistic feasts and festivals served as a tangible pattern for the spiritual, which they would have kept had they reached spiritual maturity by not resisting the Spirit of God, which they illustrated for us by resisting Moses. Their second opportunity came two thousand years ago when the spiritual son, seed, or word, returned to take them out from the bondage of keeping the letter of the law and bring them into the freedom that comes with keeping the law spiritually, through which the carnal law is fulfil. But the Jews would reject this spiritual knowledge, as would religious Christians, who chose to believe a doctrine diametrically opposed to that of Jesus, choosing to remain in their childish ways, worshipping the beastly religious image as the children of Israel worshipped the gold calf, never ascending the spiritual mount, through which one experiences the spiritual transformation of his heart. The beheading of John the Baptist takes place within us when we no longer worship God through the power of our mind and body, but through the power of our heart, which is why John said he must decrease, so Jesus could increase.
Written by Sandra L. Butler © 2010